I must confess, we didn’t start Early Intervention until after a year Marian was born.
We were afraid to take that first step and acknowledge that my child needed help. I did not even openly discuss my child to colleagues at work. I didn’t want to be vulnerable in front of them.
Until one day, a colleague whose child also has special needs (autism spectrum disorder – ASD), told me her experience on Early Intervention and how it helped her child achieve his milestones. The moment she said this, it was as if the floodgates opened in front of me. I bawled and cried due to frustration because I felt so lost and confused on what I’m supposed to do.
I would always be grateful to my colleague on that day. She has empowered me to make that first step and that it is right and should be done as early as possible because kids with special needs require external help from professionals to “intervene” with their development and ensure the child hits the milestone.
That is why it is called Early Intervention. The parents need to do it as early as possible to ensure that the child can cope and reach milestones during the crucial stage of development.
However, more importantly than early intervention, I think what is imperative for parents to have is empowerment. I realized that by getting early intervention from professionals, I am actually helping my child to be independent and avoid potential health concerns because the foundations of development are stable and strong.
Despite all the challenges, I am proud of what Marian has achieved so far. She was able to walk independently at 18months, say Mama on her 2nd year and can now go down the stairs on her own at 3+ years old. She’s also learning how to scribble and hold a pencil properly.
Baby steps. I always celebrate small victories. It makes the journey so much more enjoyable.